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Unanimous Consent Agreements: Going along in the Senate

Krehbiel, Keith (1985) Unanimous Consent Agreements: Going along in the Senate. Social Science Working Paper, 568. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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In recent decades the U. S. Senate has made increasing use of complex unanimous consent agreements (UCAs) to set a time for a final vote on legislation (thereby precluding filibusters) and to specify, for example, who may offer what amendments. Because of the numerous dilatory tactics permitted in the absence of a UCA, controversial legislation is typically doomed unless a prior agreement has been reached. Thus the norm of consent to unanimous consent requests (UCRs) is puzzling. This paper addresses the puzzle with a decision-theoretic model of consent which yields what appears to be a rather stringent condition for objection to a UCR. Two actual cases of objection are analyzed and seem quite consistent with comparative statics results derived from the model. A concluding discussion considers UCAs as instances of endogenously chosen institutions which provide Senate leaders with opportunities to induce cooperative behavior.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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Additional Information:I am grateful to Tom Gilligan and Doug Rivers for helpful conversations and comments, and to Walter Oleszek for bringing the cases to my attention. Published as Krehbiel, Keith. "Unanimous consent agreements: Going along in the Senate." The Journal of Politics 48.3 (1986): 541-564.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Senators, Upper houses, United States Senate, Expected utility, Political science, Temptation, Wheat, Presidential debates, Congressional voting, Political debate
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:568
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170915-153916911
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81502
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:19 Sep 2017 21:49
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:43

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